Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) are so complicated. Every time there’s an update to something like Logic, Ableton, Bitwig, or what have you, it’s hundreds of tiny little changes that are often too many to try and make sense of. So if you are as confused as most people, producer Kill The Noise has redubbed Ableton’s video that guides us through the most important changes in its Live 10 update. “[In] case u nerds wanted to know what ur missin in able10,” he says.
And thank goodness for that, because this video is a symphony that delicately shows the nuance of how you, the at-home producer, can coax the most out of this beloved software... or maybe not. You’re not Kill The Noise, an artist who will have you thinking, “maybee I cun bee dis gud at Abletun.”
The scene opens with a metronome ticking at 240BPM (widely known within inner circles to be the next “it” tempo), backed by the siren sound of AutoTune pushed so far it’s in The Bad Place. Like most great art, it immediately inspires conflicting feelings of “I could do that” and also, “but I didn’t, and no one else could have created such a masterpiece.” Somewhere, in the back of your head, a fleeting voice is also trying to scream, “GOOD GOD WHY.” Shush it.
From there, it’s a cacophony of dissonant keys that transition right into Ableton’s new Wavetable synth. Behold its prowess. Take in the sounds of randomly smooshing parameters and knobs around until you get something not unlike a tuning fork being run through a dishwasher. You meant to do that. It’s okay to tell yourself this.
The rest is filled with moments that should be individually treasured: sounds are given body and character with the ever-increasing swallowing hiss of white noise; a man sits at a drum machine, nodding to a groove of erudite samples, like rubber duck-like squeaks, airhorns, and snippets of “damn son, where’d you find this?” Ableton’s new Drum Buss plug-in has a kick devolve into a mess of convoluted echo and reverb that will make you say, “what a lovely way for things to end” right before the aneurysm bursts. Naturally, there are cowbells. The default Sylenth patch makes a cameo in a chef’s kiss moment of brilliance.
Look, a lot of people also didn’t understand Aphex Twin when he first released Windowlicker, so if you’re feeling judgmental at this point, maybe you take a look at yourself and not project your feelings onto this genius work. If only you had such vision.